There comes a time in every Jewish parent’s life when your children ask you if they can become Christian.  Just this once?  Pleeeeeeeeeease?   I had this conversation with Noah over the weekend.

Noah:  Mom, do you think one year we could do the whole Christmas thing?

Me:  Do you mean like doing the Jesus thing?  The church thing?

Noah:  Uh, no.  I mean the lights thing and the tree thing and the Santa thing.

Me:  Hmm.  If we did, do you think Santa actually would stop by our house?

Noah:  You have a point.  He probably wouldn’t.  Sigh.

Me:  Sorry, dude.

End of discussion.

It comes as no surprise that the Jewish kids want to convert to Christmas.  Not Christianity, mind you – but Christmas.  Note to all missionaries who are considering disenchanted Jewish children as candidates for conversion:  When proselytizing,  skip the holy stuff and go straight to the merriment.   Remember, we are the religion that artificially elevated the importance of Hanukah just to make sure that the Christians didn’t hold the monopoly on December exuberance. 

But truth be told, we can’t compete.   

Christian kids get the tree, the characters, the songs, and one mother lode of a morning, where I guarantee you there are usually more than eight presents per capita.   We get a spinning top, a candle holder, potato latkes, and usually a cap of eight presents, including the last night of Hanukah which inevitably yields something equivalent to a new pair of socks.  And then there are the decorations.   A view of our neighborhood:

Next Door Neighbor #1          Next Door Neighbor # 2


Our House

Dave lovingly refers to our home as “the dark hole at the end of the street.”  He’s right.  But I’m okay with that.

I have come across two very polarized “Jew views” regarding the crossing over to Christmas.  I know Jews who have the Christmas tree and do the Santa thing despite the fact that no Christians live in their home.  I also know Jews who get totally offended when people wish them a “Merry Christmas.”  I struggle with both of these extremes. 

Jews who choose to celebrate Christmas instead of Hanukah not because they believe in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit but because it’s more fun seems off kilter to me, especially if they want to continue to identify with being Jewish.  It’s like secular embezzlement.   Plus, we Jews don’t have huge numbers to begin with.  We need all the team players we can get.  I worry that assimilation will one day breed extinction.  I also wonder how the Christians feel about these Jewish “tourists”.  I honestly don’t’ know.

On the other side, I see absolutely no reason why we can’t share the joys of Christmas with those Christians who are kind enough to offer it.  That includes singing along to carols that you can stomach, taking a drive to see the lights, and thanking people who wish you well by saying “Merry Christmas”, even if they didn’t get it exactly right.

So our house will remain the dark hole at the end of the street.  Our neighbors, who are blowing fuses as I type, insist that the whole “light thing” is overrated.  Perhaps the lights truly are always brighter on the other side of the fence.   I’m glad we can enjoy the view.

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